Things to consider about Measure F
Santa Cruz city leaders proposed Measure F largely because the city has a structural deficit. Its expenses are more than its revenue. Bobby Magee, Santa Cruz’s interim financial director, said in February that if the city continues its current expenditures without a sales tax hike, the city’s reserves will be drained by 2028.
Santa Cruz’s budget problems predate the pandemic and are partly caused by rising pension and health care costs for public employees, former city finance directors have said.
The city’s sales tax was increased by 0.25% in 2018. City voters approved that increase. Rising pension costs were among city leaders’ reasons for the 2018 sales tax increase.
If Measure F passes, the additional money will go to the city’s General Fund and help pay for services that include police, fire department, road maintenance and many other city services. The money is not restricted for any specific use.
The sales tax hike is estimated to generate $5.5 million in its first partial year that ends in July 2023. After that, it is estimated to bring in $8 million annually, according to the measure’s fiscal impact statement.
Proponents of Measure F have said the money could be used for services like mental health help, clean parks and affordable housing.
Opponents of Measure F said any sales tax hike is a regressive tax since it taxes people of all income levels equally. The greatest burden will be on low-income residents while higher-income residents will not feel the effects of the tax hike as acutely, opponents wrote.
Text of Measure F
Santa Cruz Local stories on Measure B